Tag Archives: business

Of Swamps and Water Hazards

28 May

Image result for president trump golfing

So far in the almost 2 1/2 years of his presidency, President Trump’s golf habit has cost American taxpayers 102 million dollars in extra travel and security expenses, and soon he will achieve a new milestone: a seven-figure presidential visit to another country so he can play at his own course…over there.

According to recent non-partisan studies, U.S. taxpayers have spent 81 million dollars for the president’s two dozen trips to Florida,  17 million dollars for his 15 trips to New Jersey, another $1 million so he could visit his resort in Los Angeles and at least $3 million for his two days in Scotland last summer ― $1.3 million of which went just for rental cars for the entourage that accompanies a president abroad.

And according to the Irish media and government sources, the White House has done preliminary work for The President’s visit to his  resort on the west coast of Ireland next month even though no official meeting with Irish leaders is planned while there.

And should we mention that the 102 million total dollars to date spent on his presidential golfing represents 255 times the annual presidential salary he volunteered not to take?!

And should we mention that It is 3 times more more than the cost of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation that he continually complains about being such an incredible waste of money…

And should we add that It would also fund the Special Olympics program that his proposed budget had originally cut in order to save the government money… for the next 6 years!

And should we dare to mention that President Trump, who was a frequent critic of former President Barack Obama for his “disgraceful” golf outings,  has spent more than twice as many days on the links, to date, as President Obama did at the same point in his first term…and at a cost of more than 3 times as much by the same point in President Obama’s term?

And because Our President only plays at golf courses that he owns, most of that tax payer money being spent on his golfing habit…goes to him! In fact, A U.S. recent GAO report (Government Accountability Office) found that Mar-a-Lago received approximately $60,000 in just the four visits it studied…and he’s made 24!

And all of this is from the president who promised that he would be too busy draining the wasteful, do-nothing, incompetent government swamp to be able to play any golf, should he ever be elected President of the United States. Then candidate Trump repeatedly promised that golf would never make it onto a President Trump schedule.

“I love golf, but if I were in the White House, I don’t think I’d ever see Turnberry again. I don’t think I’d ever see Doral again,” he told a rally audience in February of 2016.  “I don’t ever think I’d see anything. I just want to stay in the White House and work my ass off.”

President Trump reneged on that pledge within two weeks, and since then he has spent a total of 61 days on his Florida courses, 58 at Bedminster in New Jersey, one at Trump National Golf Club in Los Angeles and two at Trump Turnberry, for a golfing average of 1 in every 5th day of his presidency on the gold course.

That’s a lie of 5 over par! Or as our President would characterize it: “A hole in 1!”

Nice work if you can get it…and boy are we getting it! Fore!!!!!

 

 

Why Wealthy Folks don’t need tax Breaks!

2 Apr

Image result for Why wealthy folks don't need tax breaks!

Actresses Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin were among dozens of people recently charged by the FBI in an elite college admission scheme…Surprise! Surprise! Rich people use their excess wealth to bribe and influence people to get what they want! Who would have thunk it?

 

The Hollywood stars joined CEOs of private and public companies, real estate professionals and a fashion designer in paying up to 6 million dollars in bribes to ensure that their children were accepted to schools such as Yale and Georgetown. Most of the parents paid $250,000 to $400,000 per student.

Imagine being able to spend all of that money sending your kids to schools that they are really not going to attend anyway! Couldn’t you think of a much better way to spend that kind of money on your children…or yourself…or your family? And do you remember how hard it was to put yourself or your children or to have your family pay to put you through school? You might even still be paying for it…and at 8% interest! (Thank you Congress!)

 

The scheme, which the FBI called a “nationwide conspiracy,” allowed parents to pay for their children to cheat on exams and apply to elite schools as student athletes, regardless of their actual skills. Top college coaches at the schools are also among those charged, but authorities said they are not investigating the schools themselves.

Of course not! Why investigate the schools? We wouldn’t want to put schools out of the “rich family schooling business” would we? Even if they qualify and sanction ne’re-do-well rich kids as bonafide scholars, it’s still great business…and an education for us all. Money Talks! It really, really does. It talks so much that even our U.S. Supreme Court, a fine collection of 9 “scholars” themselves, has declared money to be free speech…just like the kind of speech that we humans invented and which sets us apart from the lower animals.

But I digress because The bribery ring got its start several years ago when William Rick Singer founded a for-profit college admissions company in Newport Beach, California, that masqueraded as a not-for-profit group. This “sham charity” allowed him to conceal the nature of the payments made by parents, who could then take a tax write-off at the end of the year!

So the rich parents not only paid millions of dollars to get their children into colleges in which they didn’t belong and had no qualifications to attend but they were then able to write off the expense as a charitable one for a charity that didn’t exist! (unless of course you consider yourself to be a charity case) Holy Catholic sex offender restitution program, Batman!!! …This is what the wealthy do with their money!

And we thought they used it to help the poor! Instead they use it to trickle down on the likes of : Yale, Stanford, the University of Texas, USC, UCLA, the University of San Diego and Wake Forest University…to name a few of the struggling institutions that these wealthy parents sought to help…  and Some parents even paid for someone to pose as their child during entrance exams ― and even during classes ― with those scores submitted as part of the college application…and Other cases involved exam administrators allegedly providing students with answers during the tests or correcting wrong answers afterward. 

 

And it gets even worse because some parents also falsely claimed that their children had learning disabilities, requiring extra time on the exams, and that those claims were bolstered by notes from therapists! Holy Tax Reform, Bat Girl! Is there no end to what rich people will do to get even richer?

According to one witness in the scam, the one rationale that most parents accepted as they prepared to cheat their children’s way into a “good school” was

“Everybody’s doing it” …and… “The whole world is scamming the system!” Oops! That’s 2 rationales!…but whoever paid attention in school anyway?

Which brings us full circle and back to our own current United States Secretary of Education, Betsy Devos, who believes that our public schools are “a dead end” and who has said that her education advocacy would “advance God’s kingdom.” And that “my generation hasn’t done a great job when it comes to dealing with one another in grace.”

What she wants to gracefully do is cut overall federal funding to public education for the third year in a row (7 billion dollars)…and she wants to cut the entire budget for the Special Olympics, which is about 18 million dollars. Ms. Devos and her family have a net worth of 5.4 billion dollars of which 18 million dollars would constitute less than 1% or .0033 to be exact. To put that in perspective, if you earned a minimum wage of $15 per hour (a wage that rich folks think is far too much for poor folks to earn by the way) then you could save the Special Olympics by donating $102.96 of your salary.

Would you spend that kind of money to save the Special Olympics? I bet you would. But an incredibly wealthy (and devoutly Christian) person like Betsy Devos wouldn’t because she has 10 yachts and 2 helicopters to feed. (besides her mortal soul)

And that is why we should never give tax breaks to wealthy people! That and because they will never show you their tax returns… nor their college grades neither!… And yet we still wonder why? (Hint: It’s not because they are being audited…by anyone)

 

Only In America…

13 Mar

Can a guy from anywhere go to a Superbowl party with the former owner of a chain of Florida massage parlors, eventually patronized by one of his best friends and The owner of the most prolific NFL football franchise, who both contribute thousands of dollars to his campaign… and grow up to be President!

And of course they all employ illegal immigrants…which they encourage to come here so they can exploit them at slave wages, even though they publicly hate them and do their best to stir up anger and resentment among the common masses, all for political and personal gain.

It’s America after all! Where anything is possible…as long as you can imagine it and have the money to create it… And where at the same time nothing can be accomplished, as long as you have the money to obfuscate, lawyer up or make it go away.

If you really want to stop immigrants from coming to this country illegally you could pass laws that make it a crime to aid and abet them by hiring them for any job at all…but of course that would upset wealthy employers…and cost them money.

If you wanted to catch immigrants who have come here illegally you could look for them in all of the places where they can be found…like the homes, gardens, nurseries and grounds of wealthy folks and wealthy farms and wealthy corporations…instead of building walls or stopping motorists or inspecting those who need emergency assistance and medical care…that’s the hard way!

But even if you were really serious about catching and removing immigrants who have come to this country illegally, there are already about 12 million of them here now. So if you were identifying and capturing and expelling said persons at 1 thousand per day or 365 thousand per year (U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) removed approximately 226,000 people from the country in 2017) it would take 3 years to deport 1 million illegal aliens!

So at that rate it would be 36 years before the USA was Illegal Immigrant free! But don’t forget, immigrants come to America every year. More than likely that’s how you got here…and many if not most or all of the illegal immigrants that are here are not here to rape and kill and join gangs but rather they are imported or employed by the likes of the 3 people mentioned at the top of this blog.

so we might just as well stop chasing our tales. Look at the smiles of all of those people at that Mar-a-Lago Superbowl party in the photo above. Do they look worried or upset or outraged about anything? And yet they’ve got the rest of us frothing at the mouth and at each others proverbial throats over the 3% of the countries population that they use and abuse and make money from with impunity.

So now we are going to cut food stamps and healthcare so we can have more money to waste on a symbolic wall that won’t keep one wealthy “entrepreneur” from exploiting, using, abusing or hiring as many illegal aliens as they want.

Of course we could try to solve our citizenship problems by treating all human beings, no matter who they are or where they live or where they come from, with humanity, kindness and compassion…but I ask you…where’s the profit, opportunism and…angst… in that?

 

Meth and me?…And You?

13 Feb

Image result for methamphetamemes drugs

Once again I returned to my local pharmacy in search of my allergy medication…and when I ask for Claritin-D (spoiler alert: It contains pseudoephedrine!) They scan my NJ driver’s license, and wait for their computer to say I’m OK (as in I didn’t buy some yesterday… anywhere in the state… let alone from the same store or from a different person, and have not exceeded my one pill per day allowance) (The computer of course knows all this) then I sign my name and offer payment and off I go with drugs in hand.

Then later today I saw this report in my news feed: The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), in a newly released report, said that it saw a dramatic 5,657 percent increase is Methamphetamine seizures from 2015 to 2017 in New Jersey, jumping from 4,468 to 257,206 grams!

According to the DEA, One of the explanations for the rise in methamphetamine use (which can be made from pseudoephedrine, hence my having to prove who I am when purchasing it lest I go home and cook up some Meth) is that it has become a popular substance to help combat heroin withdrawal symptoms because “meth” is readily available, inexpensive, and provides the user with a high that can last more than 24 hours.

And Heroin has become a favorite drug of use for Americans lately because of the recent opioid epidemic which has also kept the DEA quite busy over the past few years.

Opioids are expensive and their abuse usually begins with a doctor’s prescription. Then when the abuser can’t afford those he turns to heroine which is cheaper and then to “meth” because that is cheaper still and they all seem to provide the same high and/or help with withdrawal from the previously abused drug.

In the DEA’s report, their analysis found that purity levels of the NJ Meth are as high as 99 percent! Which they say is indicative of large-scale labs in Mexico, where the Sinaloa Cartel are attempting to expand its market for crystal methamphetamine in New Jersey.

Said DEA special agent in charge, Valerie A. Nickerson, “Over the last several years much emphasis has been placed on the opioid epidemic. We are also taking this methamphetamine threat seriously. DEA and our law enforcement partners will continue to investigate those people and drug organizations who choose to put this drug on our streets.”.

To which I add…Seriously? USA law enforcement has been fighting a declared war on drugs, and those who make and distribute them, for over 60 years! And how are they doing? We now have 5,657 percent more of Methamphetamine than we had 3 years ago! And that’s just in NJ! And that’s just Meth! And that’s just in the last 3 years let alone 60! How much more of every other drug do we have now in the USA then we did 5, 10, 25 or 60 years ago!

That’s some war! And something tells me that we’re losing and it’s not even close. And I’m not even complaining about my having to wait in line and show my driver’s license just to get a little allergy medication…but obviously that little regulation isn’t helping one little bit.

And the DEA and all of law enforcement for that matter,  knows where it’s coming from because they told us in their report. And they even know the names of the particular bad guys who are selling this particular drug…and where they live! And no one can catch them or stop them?…after 60 years of trying?

And the opioid epidemic we know starts with doctors! Who write prescriptions! To give the drugs to their patients… and they get those opioids from American pharmaceutical companies! And we all know who they are too! And where they are! And we can’t stop them either? Why not?

Because there is no drug war. In America we have the Drug Business. And it’s a very lucrative business and if you are on the selling, making, enforcing, legislating, banking, jailing, treating or doctoring  side of it you make great money. And if you are on the using side of it you spend great money, and get high and possibly go to jail… but usually only if you are already poor, or browner than most or not in cahoots with someone on the money making side of the equation…or you ruin your family, lose your friends and eventually die from overuse and/or abuse.

And that’s drugs in America!…and the war continues…and that’s only with the illegal ones! The legal drugs are an even bigger business! And we’ve got no war with those…more like a love affair. So “Just say no” and don’t do them…or not? It doesn’t seem to matter one way or the other as far as “the war” is concerned.

Ironically though The Federal Combat Methamphetamine Epidemic Act was actually such a success that domestic meth production plummeted. And so Production has shifted to Mexican super-labs, and some smaller American labs which all now make a more potent version that is nearly 100 percent pure…

And it’s cheap! And meth cases now account for the majority of federal drug cases in more than half of U.S. states… but my Claritin-D now costs too much for me to want to try to buy it all up and open a meth-lab. I’d never be able to make a profit! So go figure. Are we winning or losing the drug war?

Well, according to our President’s most recent tweets, drugs are pouring over our southern border in record numbers… but our economy is doing great and jobs are up and The Dow is up… so we should all cheer up…and build that wall ASAP! (He really did recently say all of those things, just not all in the same tweet)

So that about sums it up… I guess? But cheap is good, right? So Tally Ho!…Just say No! And Into the valley of death… We go!?

 

That’s How We Do: Juxta-Posers

7 Feb

Just thought I’d repost this from a few years ago after listening to Lawrence O’Donnell today and The POTUS yesterday speak about Socialism and how we (The USA) will never, ever be a socialist country in any way shape or form…

Today I took a drive to the Philadelphia airport and on the drive home, thanks to major construction and the worn out, pot-holed, crumbly highway, I was forced to a crawl just as I passed the relatively new South Philadelphia Stadium Complex. Where the Philadelphia Phillies, Eagles and Flyers play.

I couldn’t help but notice how shiny and new and spectacular the stadiums looked…however I also couldn’t help but notice that the names on the stadiums were Citizens Bank Park Stadium, Lincoln Financial Field and The Wells Fargo Center. And I also couldn’t help but notice that the surrounding neighborhoods were about as shiny and new and spectacular as the interstate highway  that I was traveling on.

And that got me to wondering…Why do we almost always put sports stadiums in the worst parts of big cities where then millions of people have to travel from the suburbs to spend millions of dollars to watch millionaires play? Probably you’ll say it’s so we can get all of that money that is being spent back into the cities…but that’s just not the case

Most if not all of these stadiums are financed by the crumbling cities themselves rather than by the wealthy teams and owners and financial institutions that have their names on them. And even though banks like Wells Fargo and  Citizens bank and Lincoln Financial pay millions for the naming rights, when you consider the recent trillions of dollars spent by the federal government in bailing out these banks then just about all of the money spent on these ballparks comes from…the citizens…not banks.

 That’s just plain crazy.

Many politicians and proponents of these publicly financed stadiums argue that new stadiums bring new jobs and economic expansion but when new sport stadiums are financed with public money, all research has shown that the population is actually worse off economically than before the stadium.

In fact arenas and stadiums rarely live up to the promises teams, owners, and city politicians use to justify their construction. Cities are often left holding unsustainable amounts of debt because the economic development that is promised never shows up, and as a result, other services that provide more benefit to taxpayers like new roads and bridges and jobs and boring things like that are slashed to pay the bills.

Which when you think about it is insane.

Almost 40 years ago my home state of New Jersey borrowed $302 million to  construct  the Meadowlands and was supposed  to pay off the bonds in 25 years. Today because of refinancing, and redirecting funds for other stadiums the authority that runs the Meadowlands owes $830 million…on a stadium that was just torn down.

That’s nuts!

Did you know that according to a new study from Harvard: when public-private partnerships are used to build such stadiums, taxpayers finance more than three-quarters of the investment, with teams and owners picking up just 22 percent of the tab…And every NFL franchise is today worth over 1 billion dollars!

It’s so ridiculous that it’s unbelievable!

And while our cities and infrastructures are crumbling around us we are cheering ourselves up by yelling, screaming and cavorting in the midst of abject poverty on urban oases as green as the piles of cash we spend there, named after banks that wouldn’t lend us a dollar under the very same deals and interest rates that they broker to build these coliseums.

Shouldn’t we  really be building these monuments to fame and fortune in the places where they belong like Beverly Hills, Wall Street and Fort Knox?

It’s so ridiculous that it defies explanation…

But after all…that’s just how we do…isn’t it?

 

New Jersey: Most Millionaires! Most Stressed?

5 Feb

Image result for rich and poor

Here’s something interesting… According to Phoenix Marketing International, New Jersey now has more rich people percentage-wise than anybody after nudging out the State of Maryland in 2018 as the state with the most per capita millionaires.

New Jersey now has 293,992 millionaire households, for a ratio of just about 1 in 11 NJ households with a net worth of over 1 million dollars. Jersey was ranked second in 2017, when it had only 258,988 millionaire households, so that’s a 13% increase over last year. And you thought Snookie was just a dumb Jersey Girl.

The report found that nationwide 7.7 million U.S. households had more than 1 million dollars in assets, which is an increase of more than 2 million households since the financial crisis of 2008.

So how is your household doing? I know that my household has not recouped our loses from the 2008 financial disaster nor have many of my NJ neighbors who have since moved away after losing their homes because of their mortgages going underwater…and later drowning as a result. Remember when that happened?

But for at least 2 million NJ families, after dozens of major companies failed and America landed in one of the worst recessions in its history, one family’s crisis was another family’s fortune…I guess?

Because according to Wellness.com and a recent in-depth study by real estate blog Movoto. which ranked states based on unemployment rates, population density, how many held health insurance, total cost of living, and how many hours people worked per week to “survive”, New Jersey was ranked the 3rd most “stressed” state in the nation!

Go figure! New Jersey has the most wealthy and the third most financially stressed residents in the nation! It’s now the Have Most and the Have Not State! Hmmmmmm…so does this mean that as the rich get richer the poor really do get poorer? Gee who would have thunk it?!

At least the economy is doing great whether you are or not…So, Hey New Jersians! Are you working hard or hardly working? And here in the 21st Century does that necessarily mean what we think it means?

 

 

 

Nothing Really Matters. Anyone Can See…

26 Jan

This man is United States Commerce Secretary, Mr. Wilbur Ross.

“The United States Department of Commerce is the Cabinet department of the United States government concerned with promoting economic growth. … This organization’s main purpose is to create jobs, promote economic growth, encourage sustainable development and improve standards of living for all Americans.”

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said recently that he doesn’t “understand” why federal workers who haven’t been paid in weeks are going to food banks during the ongoing shutdown and that he doesn’t see why thousands of unpaid federal workers have been relying on food banks when they could just take out loans from, you know, money banks.

Now Mr. Ross has a net worth of about $700 million dollars so he should know a lot about having money but probably doesn’t know a lot about how easy it is, or hard, to go to your local bank and take out a loan, when say, you only make 15 dollars an hour…and are quite probably 699, 999, 000 dollars short of 700 million!

But be that as it may Mr. Ross also added this “I know they are (going to food banks) and I don’t really quite understand why. So the 30 days of pay that some people will be out, there’s no real reason why they shouldn’t be able to get a loan against it, and we’ve seen a number of ads of financial institutions doing that. These are basically government-guaranteed loans because the government has committed, these folks will get back pay once this whole thing gets settled down. So there is really not a good excuse why there really should be a liquidity crisis now. Now true, the people might have to pay a little bit of interest, but the idea that it’s paycheck or zero is not a really valid idea.”

So once again he seems a bit confused as to why a government employee wouldn’t get a loan or why he/she might be hungry but did you notice what he said at the end there?…In The part I highlighted?

He said that they are going to get paid eventually and everything they are owed. As in the US Government is not saving any money with this shutdown. The government is just screwing with their workers! Why? Because! That’s why!…Remember when you were a kid and you played that game because you really had no argument to make?

Well, apparently the rich bastards who run our country think they are playing a game too. And the people who work for them are just pawns, peons, serfs or whatever. And can’t they just get a loan and eat cake for chrissakes?! Why do they have to get so pissy about missing a paycheck or two? It’s only money and We’ve got important governing to do!

“You’re talking about 800,000 workers and while I feel sorry for the individuals that have hardship cases, 800,000 workers, if they never got their pay — which is not the case, they will eventually get it – but if they never got it, you’re talking about a third of a percent on GDP so it’s not like it’s a gigantic number overall.”

They don’t count anyway! If we’re talking money here, we’re just talking about 1/3% of the GDP so who cares? 800,000 workers not getting paid? We have millions and millions and millions of workers in this country, most of whom get shitty pay anyway so, I mean like, Hey! Can I get a piece of that cake here too please?!
And if we are really talking just numbers, according to US Customs and Border Protection, apprehensions on our nation’s southwest border totaled 396,579 for all of 2018. So if 800,000 is an insignificant number of people to Commerce Secretary Ross, the original Mr. Money-pants, then how insignificant is a number less than half that amount?  How much of an impact can fewer than 400,000 immigrants crossing our southern border have on our GDP? 1/2 of 1/3 of a percent?! Even I know how insignificant that is because that’s the interest I get on my money at…the money bank!

To wit: We need a wall to protect us from the insignificant demon hoards at our border? Really?? It might as well be made out of little children’s building blocks for all the good it will do and for all the relief it will provide to those gullible, angry, hateful, naive and childish enough to believe that their great white fathers care about protecting them… from their own imaginations!

The joke is on you, me, everyone. There will never be a wall. It’s all an imaginary game being played by infantile old white men who live in an alternate fantasy world where for them…all is in abundance. And for we frightened peons, “Are there no benevolent bankers? Are there no dollar menus?”

Now let me get back to my counting! Do you know how long it takes to count to 700 million or 3 billion or 10 billion even?! Oh wait! Ha! Ha! Hee! Hee! I’ve forgotten who I’m talking to…now run along like good little children and go find that cake!

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